Spotlight: Rubinato Cosmos

rubinato cosmos

It was unseasonably hot here in Sonoma County last week. We had many days in the high 90s, and one day was a record 106 degrees. The gardener (yours truly) certainly suffered during the heat wave, but fortunately the garden did not. Let’s look at one plant in particular that not only made it through the heat wave, but thrived for it.

Cosmos Rubinato

rubinato cosmos before flowering

Above is Rubinato cosmos as it appeared on June 8th of this year. I sowed the seeds in mid April, and by early June, plants were shapely but not fully developed. A few good size buds were forming at the ends of longer stems. This plant's first flowers appeared about 9 weeks from sowing, which is not nearly as quickly as the 7 weeks sowing-to-bloom we saw in Xanthos cosmos this spring. However, Rubinato cosmos plants grew much fuller prior to flowering as compared to Xanthos and other cosmos varieties that bloom faster. And because the plants were more substantial when Rubinato began to bloom, many more flowers were produced than on the early blooming Cosmos.

Rubinato cosmos in bloom Rubinato cosmos showing height of plant

By June 25, plants were full, had grown to 2 feet, and there was a good cover of 3-4 inch flowers. The color of each bloom is interesting. Flowers open a deep wine-ruby, transition into a candy stripe pink and finish in an unusual peachy parchment-like shade.

Rubinato cosmos, closeup Rubinato cosmos

My first impression was that this combination of colors on every plant was a little much. Also, there were so many more flowers than I have seen on a cosmos before! Looking at them caused a kind of exhaustion, which only intensified as I contemplated deadheading each spent bloom.

Rubinato cosmos array

I have found Rubinato cosmos to be a high performing flowering plant that is worthy of being cherished (though, if you are like me, you will cut Rubinato back every few weeks rather than deadhead), and you will enjoy its loud, generous abundance from the comfort of your shaded patio.

(By Don McCulley, edited by Emily Tryer)